August 19, 2016

H&M welcomes minimum wage, will promote industrial relations

Swedish multinational retail-clothing company H&M has welcomed the introduction of a national minimum wage in Myanmar, which was set at K3,600 (US$2.80) on 28 August.
Establishing an industry-wide minimum wage is essential for sustainable economic growth – not only for the country’s garments and textiles industry but for the country as a whole, said the world’s second largest global clothing retailer in its ‘Sustainability   Update’ published Wednesday.
H&M said that it supports the idea of reassessing the sum of the minimum wage on an annual basis, with input provided by a multitude of stakeholders, it said in a joint letter sent to the government.
H&M, which has stores in 57 countries and employs more than 137,000 workers, also recently met with Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour. It conveyed its support for workers being paid a fair living wage, and said that skilled workers should have the opportunity to renegotiate wages at regular intervals.
“We believe that meaningful collective bargaining is very important and are looking at ways to strengthen it. Workers’ ability to organise and negotiate their rights is key to improve working conditions. That is why we have set industrial relations as one of our main areas of focus for sustainability activities and will launch a project to strengthen industrial relations in Myanmar in 2015.”
Myanmar’s national minimum wage committee carried out a survey of 22,000 households in 108 townships across the country to calculate average living costs among low-income workers.
Several rounds of negotiations with the government, labour organisations, employers and workers were held before a minimum wage of K 3,600 was proposed and subsequently accepted.


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